Latest Posts

September Reminders

Believe it or not, the time for kids to start heading back to school is fast approaching or for some of us here already. This means more drivers on the road, school buses in your neighborhoods and kids crossing the street. This is a good time to remind residents to get ready for back to school activities and be extra vigilant when driving around schools in your neighborhood.

Board Meeting Updates

Be sure to update your site with the latest information on your board meetings. Some HOAs skip summer meetings due to residents being on vacation so these September meetings are extra important.

Swimming Pools

If your community has a swimming pool you may want to remind members of back to school hours and closure dates. This is also a good time to ask residents to review the lost and found and come pick up left behind items.

Entering Fall

September will be taking us straight into fall which means cooler weather and rain. Remind residents to wrap up those summer projects and take steps to get ready for the winter. It is easier to clean out gutters and catch up on yard work while the weather is still nice.

Why Doesn’t My HOA Website Get Very Much Traffic?

So you have launched your HOA website and it has been live for some time but you are starting to notice that you only get a handful of visitors each month. It is almost like people in your HOA community are not visiting the website. So what gives?

This isn’t the “Field of Dreams”. Websites do not operate under the “if you build it, they will come” premise. If they did, we would all be rich. In order to get visitors to your HOA website you need to take the following steps:

  • Make your community members aware there is a website for them to visit
  • Utilize tools like mailing lists and social media to notify community members when there is new content on your website
  • Create content that will make people want to visit your website such as news and an events calendar.
  • Make sure your website is accessible via mobile devices

Make Members Aware of your Website

This seems pretty obvious but many HOA managers don’t even let their community members know they have a website at their disposal. When you launch a new HOA website you need to make sure that you let your community know it exists.

If you have a newsletter you send out, inform your members through that. Make them aware at monthly meetings, through social media, etc.

A good strategy to “force” members to visit your website is to store important forms on your site. For example, you could keep your architectural review form on the website. This would force your community members to visit the site to download the form.

Notify HOA Members of New Content

When you post new updates to your site you need a way of letting your community members know. A good example of this would be letting them know through a Facebook page. A better example would be keeping them informed through an email list such as Constant Contact or Mailchimp.

You put in hard work to keep your HOA website updated and you want members to view those updates. What’s more, many of your updates are important and you want as many community members as possible to see them.

Using a platform like an email list is a great way to let your members know there is new content on your site.

Create Informative Content

If your members visit your HOA website and don’t find any up to date content or anything useful they are going to stop using it as a resource. It is important to make sure that what you post on your site is relevant and useful.

Posting things like news and documents are helpful but you can go even further by maintaining a community calendar. A calendar of events will be helpful to HOA members and keep your site content relevant and up to date.

Is your HOA website Mobile Friendly?

The reality is that many of your HOA members will visit your website on their mobile device. This means that it is incredibly important to make sure your site will work on a mobile platform.

If your HOA site doesn’t work on a mobile phone contact us and we can help.

How to you get visitors to your HOA website?

Did we miss something? Let us know in the comments below.

August Announcements

Summer seems to be flying by, as usual, and August is almost upon. It is time to start thinking about our updates and reminders for the month of August.

In many locations, especially in the Pacific Northwest, August is fire season. This is a good time to remind residents to limit the use of open flames on their property and to not use fire pits. Creating fire barriers around their properties can help protect their homes and here is a good guide to doing just that: Creating a Defensible Fire Space. Feel free to link to that guide in your announcements.

This is also a good time to remind residents of pool rules, park hours and other summer-related activities which have specific guidelines or hours of use. As summer wears on we tend to get complacent when it comes to rules and a gentle reminder to residents can be helpful.

August is usually a very hot month. Remind your residents to keep their landscaping watered but to also make sure they do not over-water.

HOA Meeting

When is your next HOA meeting? Did you schedule it for August? Keep in mind many families take vacations during this month so your attendance may be low. This is a good time to remind board members and residents of your upcoming meeting date(s). You may even want to try and get a headcount of who can actually make it to the meeting in case you need to reschedule for September.

HOA Domain Names

HOA Domain names are one of the most important things you will buy for your homeowner’s association website.  The domain name represents how members will find your HOA’s website and is most likely uniform to the actual name of your association.  For example, your HOA may be called “Silver Hills Estates” and your domain could be “silverhillsestats.com”.  On the surface, domain names seem pretty straightforward – however – when you actually have to manage one you may find they can be quite confusing.  Here are some tips to help better understand all that comes with a domain name.

First though, a few definitions:

Registry: The Organization that manages domains, creates extensions, sets rules, and oversees and gives accreditation to registrars.  Verisign, for example, is a domain registry.
Registrar:  The domain registrar is the company that manages the registration of your domain.  GoDaddy, for example, is a well-known registrar.
Registrant:  The person or entity that registers a domain name.  If you bought a domain name to use for your HOA that means you are the registrant.
WHOIS: A record of a domain name containing important information like expiration date, registrant information, etc.

Choosing an HAO Domain Registrar

There are many domain name registrars to choose from and most web hosting companies also provide domain name registration.  It is important you choose a reputable domain registrar as many of these companies can go out of business without warning leaving you in the dark and creating a huge hassle to regain control of your domain.  So a small, local, mom and pop shop is NOT a good place to register your domain.  It is also a good idea to register your domain at a different location than where you host your website.  You can modify your nameservers to point to your hosting account – they do not have to be the same company.  Some good places to register a domain name are Gandi, GoDaddy or Namecheap.  We prefer Gandi.

HOA Domain Expiration

All domain names come with an expiration date and that date is usually one year from the date of registration.  Most domain name registrars will allow you to register your domain for more than a year.  If you have the money and know your HOA will be around for some time, it is a good idea to register your domain for more than one year.  This way you do not have to worry about renewing the domain every year.

Another good idea is to make sure your HOA’s domain name has an active credit card on file and set your registration to auto-renew.  That means that if you forget to renew the domain it will be automatically done on your behalf.

HOA Domain Name Contact Information

This is perhaps one of the most important aspects of registering your domain name as it legally ties the domain name to you or your HOA.  If you get this information wrong you can have difficulty accessing the domain or at worst you could lose it.  There are three types of domain contacts: Registrant, Administrative, and Technical.  You can use different contacts for each one if you like – for example, if you have an IT company helping you they could be the Technical contact.  Make sure your address, phone number, and email address are correct.

The most important contact field is your email address as this is where any domain notifications and transfer authorizations will be sent.  It is also VERY important to make sure your contact email address does NOT have the same extension as your domain name.  For example, if your domain name is “silverhillsestats.com” you do NOT want to use a contact email address of jim@sliverhillsestates.com.  Instead, use a personal email like jimsmith@gmail.com as your contact email.

Checking your HOA Domain Name

Not sure who registered your HOA’s domain name? Want to check the contact information on your domain? You can do this for free by visiting https://whois.icann.org/en/lookup?name= and entering your domain name into the field. This will give you all the important information you need to make sure your domain is properly registered.

Have questions about your Homeowner’s Association domain name or need help with something domain related? Contact us and we can help. 

 

5 Homeowners Association WordPress Plugins

If you are managing your HOAs website and using WordPress to do so you most likely already know there are alot of options out there to make your site shine.  Wordpress is a great tool to use on a Homeowners Association website because of all the different plugins you can use on it.  Below we are going to highlight some free plugins that can help you grow your HOA and improve the overall functionality of your website.

Board of Directors Plugin

Want to create a section on your website that will showcase your Board of Directors?  You can do that by using the free Team Members plugin.  This plugin will allow you to add individual members to your board of directors and include first and last name, social links and a bio for your member.

For a premium option to manage your team members consider the Team Showcase plugin.

View Plugin

 

Frequently Asked Questions Plugin

You run a Homeowners Association website so naturally there are going to be alot of frequently asked questions.  You make this section of your website easy to handle with the free Acronix FAQ plugin.  This FAQ plugin is easy to use and allows you to create a list of questions and answers and neatly display them on the page you choose by simply inserting the shortcode.

For a premium FAQ plugin with many more options consider Sugar FAQs.

 

View Plugin

 

Homeowners Association Community Gallery Plugin

Want to showcase your community in a beautiful gallery on your HOA website? This is a great way to keep your community members active on your website and show off what kind of neighborhood you live in.  The Photo Gallery by WD plugin is a free plugin that will allow you to create and manage eye catching photo galleries on your website.  Simply install, activate and start adding photos.

Check out our favorite premium image gallery plugin called Justified Image Grid.

View Plugin

 

HOA Calendar Plugin

Do you have an active community that you manage your HOA website for?  Are you looking for a way to share events with the community members on your website? If so, this THE plugin for you.  The Events Calendar plugin by Modern Tribe is one of the most feature rich calendar plugins you can find.  It is packed full of features but also very intuitive to use which is why it is so popular.

For a premium version of The Events Calendar you can upgrade to The Events Calendar Pro.

 

View Plugin

 

Surveys Plugin

Surveys are a great way to get feedback from your community members.  You can easily add a survey to your HOA website by using the Quiz and Survey Master plugin.  Ask questions, post polls, and gain insight on your community members.  This free plugin is easy to use and you will have surveys on your homeowners association website in no time.

Want a premium survey plugin? Check out Modal Survey

View Plugin

 

With so many great plugins available for WordPress it is easy to make your Homeowners Association website shine.  

5 Critical Elements of HOA Websites

When building a website for your association there are some important things to consider before getting started.  If you start doing some searching you will notice how many terrible HOA websites there are out there.  Not just bad design – but poor functionality on top of it.  When building an HOA website you want to be sure that it is going to serve your community in an effective way.  We have put together a list of elements you will want to be sure to include in your HOA website.

Responsive Design

You will want your HOA website to be built on a responsive platform – meaning the site will view well on a desktop computer, laptop, tablet or phone.  Your community members will be visiting your HOA website on all sorts of different devices and you want them to have a good experience no matter what they are using.  Before choosing an HOA website make sure you ask if the end product will be responsive.  This is an absolute must nowadays.

Document Management

Homeowners Associations tend to have lots of different documents that need to be shared with their community.  Whether it be board meeting minutes, rules and regulations or financial statements, you need an easy way to share these with your members.  Before you commit to an HOA website solution be sure to find out how they handle document management.  You want it to be easy for you to manage and just as easy for your community to access.

News & Community Updates

How does your community get its news and information? A website is a great place to share the happenings of your HOA.  Your website should utilize a blog or news section to post the latest events, updates, and information.  This should be easy to access for your members and easy for you to manage.  In order to keep your community website fresh and up to date consider posting updates at least once a month or more.  Pro Tip: Don’t overthink your updates.

Photo Gallery

It seems trivial and not essential but having a photo gallery for your community website can increase member involvement and viewership significantly.  Keeping an up to date photo gallery encourages members to visit your website and can show potential home buyers what it is like to live within your community.  Having a summer BBQ? Bring a camera and share the photos on your photo gallery.

Community Calendar

Does your HOA website have a community calendar? How does your association know what events are happening that may pertain to them?  Keeping a calendar with updated events is essential to running a successful HOA.  Not only should you be letting members know of upcoming HOA meetings but you should let people know of other events within the community.  Something as simple as a well-managed calendar can help your members see more value in their HOA.

There are many elements that go into running a successful HOA website and these are just a few to consider.  If you are looking for assistance with managing your HOA website please contact us for details on how we can help.